New Delhi: We have come a long way from the basics of agriculture, and specifically organic farming, is a new development in this space.
What is organic farming?
Originally in India, organic farming was defined as the cultivation of crops by natural means without the use of industrially produced chemicals, but this has recently changed. Today, organic farming is characterized by using unaltered plant, animal or terrestrial inputs in the soil. The use of natural ingredients for organic growth has several levels incorporated today. Crop rotation, green manure and compost, biological pest management and mechanical cultivation are the main techniques used in organic farming.
Organic farming is like dealing with a newborn. It takes effort, but it’s definitely worth it. Here are some important points to keep in mind:
Organic farming requires attention
It is a labor-intensive and time-limited activity that has stricter rules than traditional agriculture. But a better yield and healthier soil is assured if all goes well. All that needs to be done is to pay close attention to the crop when it comes to immunizing the crop against diseases and deficiencies. As a child requires the love of parents, so does organic farming. Although the investments in organic farming are doubled in terms of labor, money and time, but so are the returns!
Take your time, take it one step at a time
If your land has seen full use of chemicals over time, it won’t make sense to just switch to organic farming all at once. Systematic planning and integrated management are important for a step-by-step transition. If you are an obese person planning to lose fat, you cannot change your diet all at once. You have to let your body adapt to the change in mindset, diet, exercise and circumstances. You have to make your body resilient and strong in order to adapt. Similarly, you should start by using organic products in small proportions so that your soil can adapt to the changes and then, depending on factors such as geography, temperature, crop, soil and many more, you should continue increasing the intensity and ratio during a healthy crop. It is about adapting to the ‘Lifestyle’ of the earth so a systematic long term plan will be beneficial.
Make it cyclical
Organic farming practices must be repeated over and over so that the land adapts to the process. The cyclical process of creating compost from manure, then using manure to grow, and finally using it on the crop ensures that your crop receives all the nutrients it needs to grow. And the process ensures that the crop conforms to the process.
Make the process foolproof
Even after such hard work and planning, there is a chance that unforeseen challenges will occur. But there are steps you can take to avoid pitfalls and succeed in organic farming. These are the following:
» Minimize the risk of illness or deficiency with constant vigilance and following the book
» Hire trained professionals who can guide you step by step
» Adopt community farming because if a person decides to grow organic crops in the neighborhood, it can fail due to water spills or chemical spills from neighbors. If a community embraces it as a whole, it can help harvest healthy and prosperous produce together. It also has sub-advantages:
(a) Seeds become cheaper when a community orders them together.
(b) Organic fertilizers become more affordable and accessible.
(c) Pooling means constant guidance, as well as more eyes on the crops, so labor and time are shared.
Another cheat code that can be used to be able to grow a good quality crop is to consider “Chemical Waste Free” farming. By definition, it is not only organic but a mixture of the two practices to be able to produce the right crop. You have the flexibility to use chemicals on your crop, but systematically and in measured amounts so that no chemical residue is left in the final product. For this, the farmer must understand the crop, timing and quantity. For example, if a crop takes 150 days to harvest, the farmer should maintain a 21-week calendar that defines the systematic steps in its life cycle. Chemicals must be administered within 6 to 8 weeks within their Maximum Residual Limit (MRL) in order to be off by the 21st week of harvest. Such planning is necessary for modern agriculture and can be used to better results by those who plan to implement it.